A few nights ago, our kids hosted a wonderful event for the community, called Jazz in the Garden. With 150 neighbors, supporters, parents, and kids showing up here for an evening that featured a live jazz trio, it was quite a success! Our youth found great joy in giving tours of our community garden, serving fresh appetizers, performing newly learned songs on the piano, and showing people an art gallery our kids and staff put together. By the looks on kids’ faces, it was evident that this is a special place; they’re delighted to show all who visit!
It’s been an incredible summer of ministry here at NETwork. While we have more news to celebrate than fits in a newsletter, I’m also reminded - almost daily - of the numerous challenges children and teens in our neighborhood face. Here’s a short list of what’s stood out most recently: food insecurity, neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual temptation, negative peer pressure, a lack of purpose and self-worth, parents who are incarcerated or absent, and racism. While every person has their own story, it’s apparent that most of the youth we serve are quite vulnerable, many in a variety of ways. The need for positive opportunities and role models is incredibly apparent! In the midst of this context, please join us in praying that the Holy Spirit would give hearts a hunger for Jesus and His ways! The needs are great in our community, but our God is greater!
As new staff members and volunteers have joined this summer, I’ve been greatly encouraged by this exceptional team. They are incredibly passionate about reaching children and teens! Paul exhorts us, in his letter to the churches of Colossae and Laodicea, to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” to “forgive as the Lord forgave you,” and to “put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” He continues, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly...” One of the things that blesses me most about this team is that they are actively living out Paul’s challenging words!
As we gear up for another year of after school ministry, we invite you to join in on the action. We especially want to encourage you to consider serving directly with children or teens. Here’s our guarantee to you: if you invest in building relationships with these youth, it will be rewarding! We’re also in need of people to give snacks, financial supporters, and perhaps most importantly, prayer warriors! We consider your support to be a sacred gift.
With much gratitude,